tv Inside Politics CNN June 21, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PDT
welcome to inside politics, i'm john king. thanks for sharing your day with us. republicans are giddy and the left responded after a big gop win in a georgia house. >> they want to make this all about donald trump, great, it's all about donald trump and he's winning. >> there are big policy differences and big complaints about leadership secrecy. >> i always like to move forward with legislation that i haven't seen, that's one of the practices i have enjoyed around here. >> sarcasm noted, senator. also moments ago on capitol hill, a stern warning about russian hacking of state
election systems. >> in 2016, the russian government at the direction of vladimir putin himself orchestrated cyber attacks on our nation for the purpose of influencing our election. that is a fact, plain and simple. >> with us to share their reporting and their insights, abby phillips of the washington post. that was former obama homeland security chief jay johnson on the witness stand on capitol hill. the questions from the u.s. intelligence committee cross partisan lines, democratic adam schiff listed here, saying he thinks the obama administration waited too long to warn the american people last year about russian cyber attacks aimed at influencing the election. >> why did we wait from july until october to make that
statement? >> i'm going to disagree with your premise that there was some type of delay, this was a big decision, and there were a lot of decisions that went into it. this was an unprecedented step. first as you know well, we have to carefully consider whether declassifying the information compromises sources and methods. second, there was an ongoing election and many would criticize us for perhaps taking sides in the election. so that had to be carefully considered. one of the candidates, as you recall, was predicting that the election was going to be rigged in some way. >> republicans like trey gowdy recall how the democratic national committee refused to cooperation with the fbi and the department of homeland security despite being warned russia had hacked into it's computer system. >> dnc never turned the server over to law enforcement? if you're investigating either from a law enforcement or from an intelligence standpoint, the
hacking by foreign hostile government. wouldn't you want the server? wouldn't that help you, number one, identify who the attacker was? why would the victim of a crime not turn over a server to the intelligence community or to law enforcement? >> i'm not going to argue with you, sir, that was a leading question, and i'll agree to be led. >> interesting. i'll agree to be led, if you don't speak court speak, that was jeh johnson, saying the democratic national committee during the clinton campaign was stupid, it would not let the fbi in to do something. why is this significant today? much of the investigations, much of the conversations in washington is about did people in trump's orbit collude, coordinate, have any improper conversations with the russians, and after the firing of james
comey, is there something there about obstruction of justice, now we're back to what did the russians do, why did they do it and the incompetence at the democratic national committee. why is it important to look back to this? >> to start with, the collusion questions are in some ways secondary to the underlying motive for this investigation, but it's also notable because just a day ago, when this question was put to white house secretary sean spicer, he was asked does the president believe that the russians interfered with the election and that it was a significant thing, he said he had. n n't -- hadn't talked to the president sit. the idea that the russians interfered in the election is -- it's important because the commander in chief seems to not believe that a very significant
incursion by an adversarial foreign power actually happened and that's something i think is alarming to a lot of people both in the intelligence committee and on the hill. >> and to your point, as we go back, it is important to go back and see how this was detected. because as jeh johnson said, as james comey said a week ago, they're still doing it, they're going to try to do it in 2018 and in 2020. but the thing that's interesting to your point is that every republican who asks these questions, there's a dispute co obstruction of justice, but nobody disputes that russia did this. the only person that won't answer that question directly is the president of the united states or his press secretary, because five months into the administration, he has not talked to the president about something that has dominated the headlines. >> he has not done any kind of investigation as to russia did
as a criticism of him or somehow saying that he didn't properly win the election. and i think that muddying has extended into the secondary questions about questions of collusion and sort of tertiary questions as to whether the president did anything to try to stop or hinder an investigation. i think that muddying has also migrated to the democratic side as well. and we need to remember what we're all investigating here and bring it back to that basic point, that question. >> that some people coordinated? >> yes. >> it also speaks to the perils of either being afraid of finding out you were hacked, or you don't want the government intruding in my communications systems. but he's saying russia knocked at the door, but it was locked.
when you are looking forward to the 2018 races or the big one, 2020. this is a reminder that it's happening and it's going to happen. and pretending it's not going to happen or trying to figure it out yourself or thinking it's not that big of a deal, it can happen to democrats and it can happen to republicans also. >> this is one more issue in our tribal polarized time. we talked to democrats about this. th the political elites who actually work in government or national security, who themselves are republicans will differ and say no this is a very troubling issue, the russians are bad hombres and they were trying to intervene in our election. but trump, to his credit, as blunted the politics of this. and just made it like most everything else nowadays, red or blue. >> but just because it's a
political issue, doesn't make it go away as an actual issue. >> and jeh johnson was really clear, that he was in touch with states as the election was playing out. he said states don't like washington telling them how to run their election system. maybe some grants to help them improve their security. when adam schiff was essentially politely, because jeh johnson -- they issued the warning at the very same time that access hollywood tape made it public. the tape that we thought could destroy the trump candidacy, in some ways may have oddly helped the president? can you actually make that statement? because it blue this story down below the fold and took it off television? >> it's 2016 so of course you can make that statement. >> my newspaper reported the access hollywood video, so there's a caveat there. but jeh johnson seemed concerned
that this 11-year-old video made it to the front pages. but those who were covering the campaign at that time. it was pretty clear that all of this talk about russian interference in the election were not breaking through. i think people were not really engaged on it in part because it was turned into a partisan issue from the very beginning. >> and jeh johnson said that it didn't matter. >> they were actually concerned about the partisan dynamics of the election overall and how their actions would be viewed in that frame. and at the time, i think there was a lot of talk about russia and all of it was considered to be partisan. >> and to the point, you're president, you've been president for five months, no one's going to take the president away.
they celebrated in 2016. including probing into state election, of the database, seeing if there's some way to get in. no one has put forth one ounce of evidence that they changed the outcome of the election. but what's clear is that in 2016 they tried with the warning they're going to try it again. >> state election officials are very sensitive about what they perceive to be federal intrusion into their process. i heard that firsthand over and over. this is our process, it's our sovereign responsibility. we're not interested in a federal takeover. >> do we know as the committees investigate, again possible collusion, possible obstruction, and members of both parties said let's not forget the foundation of this, a foreign state actor somehow meddling in our election, that's a big deal. is there evidence that new steps, concrete steps are being taken to improve voter files at
a state level? because states rightly so, the constitution says elections are their business not washington's? >> there's not been any terrific push in the wake of this election, certainly not compared to what happened, john, as you recall. >> is that a resource issue? >> in 2000, there was an entire federal law passed after the recount in 2000. it was called how to help america vote, there's nothing like that this time around, i think part of the reason is because again it's become such a partisan issue in red states and blue states, take this much, you know, differently. and so, there's been no sort of crossed in effort to coordinate and improve those dangers. >> the current attorney general jeff sessions being so close to president trump who we know kind of doubts the voracity of this whole thing. i don't think there's any evidence that jeff sessions is taking this as something that he needs to lead on, to sort of help states coordinate or even convene states on this front.
he would have to deal with his counterparts on the state level to do this and we haven't seen much evidence that that's being done. >> jeh johnson did have some kind words about his success with homeland security. maybe on that take there. >> what you see is a republican controlled congress that is not number one overwhelmingly intent on giving this a priority. and number two, trump's still at the starting gate trying to get tax reform and repealing obama care. it doesn't appear poised to take off in the next three weeks. up next, senate republicans want to make their obama care replacement plan public tomorrow. tomorrow, first they have to sell it at a private gop lunch under way right now. (dance music)
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them. so pulling a vote this week would be a rush. i don't think i have the information to validate and justify a yes vote within a week. >> cnn's phil mattingly live on capitol hill, are we going to get a bill by tomorrow? >> reporter: tomorrow the bill is supposed to be out, at least a draft proposal, all of the concerns about transparency, all of the concerns will evaporate. we'll see if that's the case. but the senate majority leadership says it's time to move on this. everybody knows where everyone stands on this. >> you know, you can only talk about things so long, we have been debating this for about seven years.
a working draft will be released tomorrow and i think all the concerns will evaporate. >> senator johnson, whether or not he's a leading indicator or a canary in a coal line. if just 3% of senators say they -- they need 50 of their 52 members to vote for this in ordered to move forward. so if process is that big of an issue, that they're willing to vote no because of what's going on. the real issue remains the policy. i'm told behind closed doors yesterday there was a very tense, very contentious meeting with several members who are concerned about the direction of where this bill is going to go. moderates are very concerned about the medicaid piece, whether or not it will include a fund for opiod addiction. one thing is for sure, they need 50 votes and they don't have 50
votes and the pathway to get them is still up in the air. >> i think the process will become the excuse to push for delay if some of these issues don't get involved. there's been a lot of theater here about the secret process. that's good drama, good politics, now the task is what are they going to put in this bill. let's show our viewers, there are severe philosophical, ideological issues. how do you deal with medicare reform. and how do you let insurance companies get away in some of the -- planned parenthood will be a huge part of this. and you can't make opiod or other treatment plans optional. so if you're going to allow
insurance companies to opt out of that, then maybe we with need to create a federal fund. so this is a big, big, policy debate. can they really pull a rabbit out of the hat tomorrow? a working draft, he did not call it a final bill. >> i think cornyn floated separately the possibility of doing this before the august recess. and so you hear the first hint of delaying it until the next recess. i think it's going to be tough to go from a draft bill to a final vote this quickly. even with mitch mcconnell's depth skills there. it's going to be hard to gather rand paul and ted cruiz on the right on the same page. m. >> is this a question of policy
or process? they're so interrelated right now, that debate over policy is what these republicans think ought to be happening and i was struck by what senator cornyn said we have been talking about this for seven years, democrats have been talking about their health care plan since the 1950s in congress. this is a long process, and republicans have been slow to get on board so we're talking about health care, there are a lot of interesting ideas, it will be the kind of thing that might benefit from an open process where people are discussing this instead of leaving everyone in the dark. >> it's a great line from the republican leadership. we have been hearing for seven years that we need to vote now. but most of that talk was fake because they had a democratic president and they knew they were never going to pass a bill that was going to get passed by a democratic president. so they could say anything they wanted to because there was no consequences to their talk. >> now we have a republican president, but we have a president who's not much
interested in that. >> the reason they're rushing this things through is because mcconnell knows politically it's a dog, it's an unpopular bill. they don't want to run on repealing health care, they want to tell their base that, because that obviously is what the base wants, but they want to run on economic growth, tax cuts, america is booming again. and this is more of a taking care of a promise to the base, let's get it done and move on. >> the president's own new threshold is that it have heart and not be mean, also adds some complications to it because the version with heart that's not mean covers more people. so it goes back to that ideological cleave. i think at the very least what mcconnell is trying to do is not lose momentum on this. if they go on a break and come back, there's even less time. and this does have an impact on
the midterm. you can set aside special elections and all that, but when it comes midterm time, if there's not a replacement for obamaca obamacare, it's going to be very hard for republicans to run on that. >> ausmus ran in georgia. you think you're going to see republican conservativine ings i'm not going to vote for it. >> and at least the republicans decide, let's keep the process going. this isn't going to be the time bill. let's get it to the senate. then what happens? because you mentioned susan collins and lisa her koskie. if they strip it, then they lose those two votes, we assume, unless they change their mind. if they leave it in, listen to mark meadows, one of those conservative freedom caucus
members of the house. they got the bill by catering it. >> they will lose too many votes in the house, there's no way they would get consensus, so the message needs to be clear to our senate colleagues, that needs to stay in place, so that shouldn't be the litmus test on passing repeal and replace. but it would have very implications here in the house. >> it was a big if, and they finally did pass the house bill. the president celebrated it and then called it mean. now if they can get it out of the senate, even if they do, that doesn't guarantee that the house and the senate can actually pass something that becomes law, we're fog about bills. >> maybe that rose garden celebration is a little bit premature. >> or maybe not, everybody seems to think in the public that they passed something and that's all
that matters. >> the one thing i would say about this process and this timeline is that they really do actually need to get this done by the fall. they cannot move on to other items, that growth agenda that we were just talking about cannot happen unless we resolve this health care issue. it's kind of a must. for paul ryan's agenda, more mitch mcconnell's agenda, they have to get this out of the way. last night, a big win for republicans in georgia and a big relief for the trump white house. # [ america by simon and garfunkel ] ♪ let us be lovers, we'll marry our fortunes together ♪ ♪ i've got some real estate here in my bag ♪
tonight, i stand before you, extraordinarily humbled and honored at the tremendous privilege that you people across the sixth district have given to me to represent you in the united states house of representatives. and a special thanks to the president of the united states of america. [ cheers and applause ]
>> welcome back. that's soon to be congresswoman karen handel separating her big win. 52-48. the result in the end, democrats had such high hopes, spent tens of millions of dollars in this district. let's break it down by counties as you pull the district out. i'm going to show you here, the district runs like this, you have dekalb county, this is where the district is. and here's why karen handel won last night. for starters, john ossoff, the democrat did what he intended to do, he would have liked to have been six points ahead in dekalb. he fell short in cobb county. remember this district has been in republican hands since back to the jimmy carter administration. the biggest chunk of voters here
in the northern part of fulton county and john ossoff simply failed to meet the test he needed. plus the reliable republican vote here. again, democrats had high hopes of sending president trump a message, instead karen handel will soon join the republicans in the house. >> tonight, let's celebrate and tomorrow the real work will begin. the hard work of governing and doing that in a civil, responsible way that is in the best interests of every georgia, every sixth district citizen and every citizen of the united states of america. >> now it's always wrong to read too much into one election. especially one offyear special election. still last night was a big deal for a number of reasons. for starters, a president with lousy poll numbers, no significant legislative win and a giant investigative shadow over his white house has a very
legitimate reason to celebrate today. fewer republican incumbents are less likely to retire. the gop believes that karen handel's campaign is now a good blueprint. it would be a great understatement to say there's a pretty fierce internal debate in the democratic ranks about the best path forward. the president tweeting repeatedly, and for good reason, that democrats, at least the national democrats tried to make this a referendum on the president in a district he won, but just barely back in 2016. this is a win for the president, right? without a doubt. >> i think so, i think that he probably -- he didn't set foot down there in part because i think it was very unclear whether he would be an asset or a drag. but i think if democrats were looking to hurt him politically by picking off one of these seats, they haven't been able to
do that at all, even in a place where maybe he's not that popular. and so i think he actually both has bolstered his support in the house where he still really needs it. and he has an argument that they just haven't figured out how to beat me yet and i think that's pretty much true. >> thank you for flying back and getting here in time for the program. republicans think if you look at karen handel's campaign, don't run for the president, but don't hug him. talk about local issues, talk about your experience. in 2015, we thought outsiders were in. donald trump sweeps all those republicans. karen handel, she ran as a politician, and john ossoff was the outsider. republicans think if you take that blueprint for troubled republican incumbents and other experienced republican challenges, that's a pretty good blueprint?
>> it's not totally different from what we saw last year when people and gop were so concerned about the trump drag. but the argument that was constantly made last fall by a lot of operatives in washington. people in these districts who know their congressmen are not going to confuse, say, barbara comstock here across the river, with donald trump. and dollardollarly -- similarly you know karen handel, she was the county executive in the largest county in the state and the crucial county in this district, fulton county, she's not going to be confused with donald trump. the lesson to me in this race is that conventional gop candidates can still win if they have a brand that's separate from trump and there's still a large group of people in america, who guess what, they don't like their taxes being increased, they're basically conservatives. they don't like donald trump either, but they're going to still vote for the gop downballot. >> the gop did have some drag here, we could probably assume
if there were an open seat in a general election, karen handel does win. i think this looks more like a regular republican seat, republicans in washington would like donald trump to think that he had a big part in this victory, but i think more of the credit goes to house republicans. they know how to win house races, you have the paul ryan super-pac, other winners playing in this race, they had other districts playing very well. they did the right things to get her across the line there and actually outperform. >> out of 2008 and 2012. everybody was talking about how the democrats mastered the hi high-tech digital age. you can talk about the messaging of it. but on the mechanics, identifying your voters, turning
them out and the republicans did a fantastic job. >> for seven, eight years. >> it's a good blueprint for this double digits gaff. it may not work well in a district that's closer, if you can find the districts that are closer. >> that's going to be the first big battleground next year? >> it's also clear that democratic voters are different from republican voters, if donald trump were a democrat, a lot of democrats might have stayed home. republican voters went to the polls. >> it's no doubt that the democrats have more enthusiasm at the grass roots, but enthusiasm doesn't count when you need seats in congress. but at a time when you do have the cloud of the russian investigation, use do have people saying can they get a deal on obamacare? will they get to tax reform after that? they're going to look at nom breitbart headlines a on the right after a few tough weeks of here.
>> so just in the sense of the moment, this can pass pretty quickly, and again we're going to let the future predict. but for the republican party who can use a burst of energy is good. >> if you polled every democratic operative in washington, d.c., they would have said let's not put much money in there, let's wait for the general election 2018. the problem is the base is so enthusiastic on the democratic side, it's a bit of sort of the tail pulling the horse here. we have got to do something about trump. now there's a special election, let's send money there. and before you know it, these candidates are awash in money, and there's this pressure, guy,
why are you here? they don't want to play in those seats, but they know the math doesn't work, but it's hard to say no to your grass roots when your grass roots have been on fire. >> now we'll get research after the fact, in a few weeks we'll know more about what actually happened. but republicans went in so heavy and they -- wait a minute, wrong call. now we get to the democrats next. john ossoff says that last night was just the beginning of the fight, but can the democrats find anti-trump anger into election day wins. i've found a permanent escape from monotony. together, we are perfectly balanced. our senses awake. our hearts racing as one. i know this is sudden,
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but this is the beginning of something much bigger than us. >> today the democratic debate over why ossoff lost and what it means for the 2018 midterms is intense to say the least. some say ossoff wasn't hard enough on president trump. others say it was a near impossible race to begin with given the big gop advantage in the sixth district. for all this talk on a referendum on president trump, republicanings made a smart play in ca . >> hi, georgia. san francisco just wants to say thank you. >> you're going to give us john ossoff as our congressman. >> isis? they're overrated. >> i thought willie nelson lived
in austin, texas not san francisco. >> he moves around a lot. >> look, we laugh but i know from talking to sources last night that that spot got a lot of verbatims, now verbatims are when you can call and poll people and they say they have seen the ad. it when you ask them a broad question. so that ad penetrated some. it's not complicated. suburban republicans don't like having their taxes increased, and generally want to vote for republicans and georgia especially, they don't have a liking for nancy pelosi. but john ossoff, why no one can run as a centrist, why didn't he run on some sort of an issue set, some kind of an agenda. and at the same time, why did his attempts to knock back
handel, this sort of milquetoast centrist. you can actually be a moderate democrat and go after your riflrifl rival. >> bill clinton won the presidency because of moderate policie policies. >> the difference is running harshly against trump because i think that would have backfired in this particular district. maybe they didn't want to run this race, maybe they didn't want to fight in some of these other specials, but they need all the practice they can get. they have to figure out what the message is. you're hearing, not to make this a bernie redux, but you're hearing some bernie people saying, hey, what about the policy? what about the message on health care and on education and i think that is still missing from
the democratic message. >> an iraq war veteran, who might try to make a run for the white house, saying we need a genuine new message, focus on the future. race better be a wakeup call for democrats, business as usual isn't working, time to stop rehashing 2016 and talk about the future. >> and thin massachusetts, thats a call for centerism. we were talking last night what's the future of the democratic party, who's is the democratic party? what republicans showed in the georgia special district, you can be in the middle and still vote for your party, and not be swayed to the other side. what the democrats are struggling over which is a really different question, do you need to energize the liberal base, or will the base turn out
in a general election. >> you've got to win 24 congressional seats. i just want a little bit of history for democrat who is think the world is over because they have lost these elections. let's go back in time 2005, 2006, the democrats lost special elections to pick up 30 seats. in special election seasons, republicans lost three, everyone's saying wow is me. and then they win 63 feet. it not necessarily indicative of what's going to be seen next election. >> 30 years old, has no resume, no real experience. a lot of those mistakes that you mentioned about what he could have done, is just something that a first-time candidate would think. he didn't live in the district, he lives a couple of miles away. something very easy for him to do is go get an apartment in the district. i mean it seems silly and
simple. but this is something that people actually care about. and even down to the fact that he, the long-time girlfriend and then they get engaged. all of this plays into the idea, a lot of swing voters that john ossoff would have needed to pull over the democratic side, probably would have looked at him like that's my son. and that doesn't translate to now i'm going to vote for him for congress. >> they want new leadership, they want us to step up. and a lot of this is rooted in frustration with nancy pelosi. >> a lot of frustration with her, but her team says she's the only one that can raise the money. it's an interesting debate. t, and i know that we have accident forgiveness. so the incredibly minor accident that i had tonight- four weeks without the car. okay, yup. good night. with accident forgiveness your rates won't go up just because of an accident. switching to allstate is worth it.
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welcome back. the parallel universe has the trump white house briefing room was back in business yesterday after more than a week without an on camera briefing. among the questions, this, still unanswered seven months after election day and five months after inauguration day, does the united states believe russia interfered with the 2016 election? >> does president trump believe that the russian government interfered in the 2016 elections? >> i have not sat down and talked to him about that specific thing? >> didn't he say that it was fake news and that russia meddling was fake news? >> does the president support a $60 billion cut in program x, i haven't talked to the president about that, i get. but seven months after the election, five months after inauguration? >> the press conference, it's not new.
>> but at the same time, to be fair to sean spicer, he knows that the minute he goes out and says something the president believes, the president's going to get on twitter five minutes later and contradict him, and i think we have every reason to believe that when the president is on twitter, what he says about the russia investigation. >> to answer questions, won't answer any controversial questions because he's afraid his boss is going to undermine him, therefore it's useless? but what's the point? he just did an interview with laura ingram who could be his replacement. he said that reporters aren't interested in performance art, they want answers to questions. maybe if he would answer them. >> that's one thing that happened yesterday, he did take questions for longer.
there was an example of this where sean spicer basically said something about things are working out between china on this whole north korea issue, and literally about ten minutes after the briefing, i still haven't gotten an answer about what he means by that. he's just safer not saying it. >> sean spicer knows if he says anything from the podium, it becomes the news of the day. >> that is a good reason to cancel the briefings. i tried hard to quit smoking. but when we brought our daughter home, that was it. now i have nicoderm cq. the nicoderm cq patch with unique extended release technology helps prevent your urge to smoke all day. it's the best thing that ever happened to me. every great why needs a great how. ray's always been different. last year, he said he was going to dig a hole to china.
hello, i'm wolf blitzer in washington. we're following breaking news, we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. we're going to bring you the latest on the russian investigation in just a few moments. but right now in michigan, a possible terror attack, a police officer has been stabbed at the airport in flint, michigan. law enforcement officials say he was targeted by the assailant who is now